Though part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has a different system for obtaining a driving licence. Instead of the DVSA, which operates in England, Scotland and Wales, the DVA issues licences here get full valid Northern Ireland driving licence

provisional driving licence: Applications

Before you learn to drive, you must apply for a provisional driving licence. If you already hold a valid full driving licence and want to add a higher category, you must first apply for provisional entitlement in the category you require. get Northern Ireland driving licence

Apply for provisional entitlement

You can apply for your provisional driving licence by completing the DL1 application form which is available from main Post Office branches 

Documents Required to get a Northern Ireland driving licence

  • Providing proof of identity for a driving licence
    • full valid current passport in your current name
    • a valid UK Biometric Residence Permit
    • UK or Republic of Ireland birth certificate
    • ID card issued by a member state of the EEA (ID cards issued by the UK Passport Agency are not accepted by DVA as confirmation of your identity)
    • travel documents issued by the Home Office
  • Proof of residence
    • If you are exchanging a licence other than a driving licence issued in Great Britain, or you have previously been resident outside Northern Ireland and wish to apply for a provisional licence, you must provide DVA with proof of residency. Documents accepted by DVA as proof that you are resident in Northern Ireland are listed below. At least one of these documents is needed:
    • utility bill
    • bank account or credit card statement
    • court notice 
    • hospital appointment notice
    • correspondence from a Northern Ireland university confirming that you’ve been on a course of study for at least the last six months 
  • The photo for your driving licence

When you apply for a photocard driving licence in Northern Ireland, in most cases you’ll need to provide a photograph which must follow specific rules. It may also need to be certified (signed) depending on the type of identification that you’re using to apply for your licence. You must provide a recent passport type photograph that’s in colour if you’re applying for:

  1. a provisional driving licence
  2. a renewal of your driving licence
  3. an optional renewal of your driving licence
  4. an exchange of your licence from another country*
You don’t need a photo

You don’t need to provide a photo if the reason you’re applying for a licence is:

  • a change of name and/ or address
  • a duplicate (this is a copy of your existing licence) 

Driving licence categories

Driving licence categories are different in Northern Ireland. get Northern Ireland driving licence

Category AM: You can drive 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 25km/h (15.5mph) 

Category P: You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 45km/h (28mph) but not more than 50km/h

Category Q: You can drive 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled vehicles without pedals. get Northern Ireland driving licence

Motorcycles: A, A1, A2,
Cars:
  • Category B1. You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400kg
  • Category B. You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg MAM with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).
  • Category B auto. You can drive a category B vehicle – but only an automatic one.
  • Category BE. You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg with a trailer.
Large vehicles:
  • Category C. You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg MAM).
  • Category CE. You can drive category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.
Buses:
  • Category D1. no more than 16 passenger seats and a trailer up to 750kg
  • Category D1E. You can drive D1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg MAM
  • Category D. You can drive any bus with more than 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg MAM).
  • Category DE. You can drive D category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

DVA will normally return your documents within 10 working days, separate from your licence. If you don’t receive them, contact DVA . get Northern Ireland driving licence

Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about for Northern Irish drivers coming to GB. That’s because NI licences are accepted on the same basis as those issued in any other part of the UK. You’re able to drive on your Northern Irish licence until it expires, without needing to exchange it for a GB equivalent. (If you do wish to exchange, though, you’re eligible to do so for free!) get Northern Ireland driving licence.

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